Though calls for a public high school in Kihei are probably older than he is, state Representative Kaniela Ing, D–South Maui, got top billing in a Jan. 11 press release on the school’s long-awaited ground-breaking.
“I am ecstatic to see hundreds of hours of tireless work by so many people, over so many years, finally bear fruit,” Ing said at the ground-breaking, according to the release. “This is more than just a school. Our community currently does not have a stadium or even a gym. Through sports and clubs, our high school will give our young people a better sense of belonging and serve as a true hub for our community at large.”
To put all this in context, Ing wasn’t even a legislator in 2011 when officials released the school’s Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). Given the scale of the project, and the many, many years residents spent pointing to rapidly increasing South Maui population numbers and asking when they’d get a public high school, a wide range of state and local officials attended the ground-breaking, including Governor David Ige, Lt. Gov. Shan Tsutsui, state Senators Roz Baker and Gil Keith-Agaran, Rep. Ing and Mayor Alan Arakawa.
That’s a lot to ask of a public school, but the way Ing sees it, the future Kihei High is even bigger than that. “I’m really excited that this will be the first Net Zero high school in the entire state,” said Ing, according to the news release. “It sets an example for what high schools should look like in the future. This is not your grandfather’s high school.”
While the press release states that the Legislature “met the Governor’s request to fully fund” the school (to the tune of $130 million), Ing estimates that school construction will require “an additional $50-$100 million depending on the final design and cost of materials.”
The school will sit on “land mauka of Piilani Highway between Kulanihakoi and Waipuilani Gulches,” according to the EIS (which also projected that the school would open in 2016, though officials are now pointing to a 2018 opening).
Image courtesy Hawaii House of Representatives